By Miguel Rivera
A few weeks ago, BoxingScene.com reported that heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz was removed from his mandatory position under the World Boxing Association, thus losing his rights as the mandatory challenger to current champion Anthony Joshua - and the boxer was handed a temporary suspension.
The sanctioning body has now made it official, as the World Boxing Association's World Championships Committee announced that Ortiz was handed a one-year suspension, and immediate removal from the rankings, due to his failed drug test where he came up positive for chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide.
At the end of the ongoing WBA convention, sanctioning body Gilberto Mendoza said Ortiz's case should help boxing in terms of anti-doping and be taken as an exemplary case so that boxers should be more careful with what they ingest.
In the WBA's resolution, it was indicated that Ortiz's suspension will last until September 22, 2018. Ortiz will also need to stay involved in the WBA's testing program, which is regulated by VADA.
"The status and recognition of Ortiz as the mandatory challenger has been revoked, Ortiz was removed from the WBA rankings and suspended to participate in any fight for a WBA title for one year," reads the letter delivered to the Cuban puncher.
"In order for the suspension to be removed, Ortiz must continue to participate in the VADA Clean Boxing Program at his own expense, and not test positive for any prohibited substance or reject a randomized test, in addition to a medical evaluation to determine if he is fit to fight. "
Ortiz also failed to properly submit a request to have his B-sample examined.
"He has the chance to appeal but the issue of drugs and clean sports is very important and things can not be like that, you are positive or negative and accept it," Mendoza told ESPN Deportes.
"He did not make a proper request for the B-sample to get tested, he did it verbally and it's not the right thing, he had to do it in writing or by his lawyer, we gave him time to do it before the WBA made their decision and he did not do it."
The failed drug test was in connection to this Saturday's return of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Wilder was originally scheduled face Ortiz, but the Cuban fighter was pulled from the bout after failing a pre-fight drug test. He was eventually replaced by Bermance Stiverne.
Because the WBC's testing program is also regulated by VADA - the WBA recognized the failed result and began their own investigation.
Ortiz and his team have long claimed that the substances in question are related to the boxer's prescribed medication for high blood pressure. But the big issue at hand, is Ortiz and his team members never advised VADA that he was taking that medication when he entered the testing protocol.